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Things I love: Worishofer sandals

Things I love: Worishofer sandals

worishofer1

I was walking to pick up my library book, when I glanced into the window of Much & Little, and spotted my perfect sandal.

Perfect? I know. But I’ve been searching for a low-heeled, comfortable sandal for, oh, years. So many years.

worishofer2v2

Apparently I’m way behind on this Worischofer thing. I blame living in England for that, as apparently they don’t think these shoes are cool over there, but I find that hard to believe. What could be cooler than a German orthopaedic sandal?

That brought you up short, I’m sure. No really, they are cute. And incredibly comfortable. Upon coming home, I was seriously trying to justify buying another pair already. It’s the low heel height, combined with the adjustable slingback strap and the functional buckle over the top of the foot that makes it for me. Adjustable width and length is amazing.

And all those articles making fun of people buying ugly shoes for the sake of irony… er, well, I don’t think those people walk very far. Otherwise they’d understand.

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Choose Fairtrade flowers this Valentine’s

Choose Fairtrade flowers this Valentine’s

crate-barrel-flowers
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year for buying fresh flowers. And being in the middle of February, at least up here in Canada, not many of us are plucking flowers from our own gardens or greenhouses.

This means our flowers are shipped from warmer climates, generally South America (in the UK, it seems to be Africa). Our batches of roses are produced by large flower farms, unfortunately with bad reputations when it comes to environmental responsibility and employee welfare. However, like coffee and chocolate, you can make the decision to buy flowers with certified by the Fairtrade Federation or Rainforest Alliance. Read more about Fairtrade and flowers at the Tyee.

Here in Vancouver, we are lucky to have the large distributor, Florimex, that has made a commitment to carry only Fairtrade flowers. I was still surprised how few florists in the city I could find that offered Fairtrade blooms. Both Whole Foods and Choices carry them, and the incredible Olla Flowers in Gastown also offers delivery. None of the big floral delivery companies had Fairtrade options.

In the UK, things are a little better on that front. Interflora has Fairtrade options, as well as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Or you can choose a different kind of bouquet for Valentine’s, local evergreen foliage in a beautiful vase, or as I suggested last year on VancouverMom.ca, local orchids grown in greenhouses in Abbotsford. There are also beautiful paper flowers available from West Elm, or Crate & Barrel.

So, let’s vote with our purchases this Valentine’s and choose Fair Trade.

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Burrito bowls

Burrito bowls

burrito bowl

I am secretly obsessed with those ‘what I ate’ blog posts and magazine pages. I know, I know, most of them are made up or at least massaged into appearing super healthy. But like most people, I struggle with inspiration for my daily meals.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to start posting recipes for the meals we eat at home all the time – the ones that get requested again and again. They’re not particularly original or very complicated, but I think we could all use a few more of those regular meal ideas.

Burrito bowls are, by their very nature, super flexible things. We eat these at lunchtime mostly, utilizing leftovers in the fridge, but the base stays essentially the same: brown rice and black beans. Often I will cook a batch of onions, corn and peppers to add to omelettes and burritos, and keep it in the fridge. Add hot sauce, nuts, whatever takes your fancy. Skip the salsa and sour cream and use a miso-soy dressing and it’s immediately more Asian, no longer really burrito related but also amazing.

Here’s an example bowl we had today. I haven’t given measurements because this is up to you.

Burrito bowl

  • Cooked brown rice
  • Black beans, rinsed
  • Corn kernels, frozen
  • Peppers, chopped
  • Onion, sliced
  • Cheese, shredded
  • Kale, either raw and chopped or leftover fried kale, chopped
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Sour cream

1. Heat or cook the rice, add black beans if you’re just heating it up.

2. Fry the onion, corn kernels and peppers together, by the time the onions and peppers are softened the corn will be defrosted.

3. Layer rice, then beans in a bowl, top with shredded cheese, and then the onion mixture. All the heat will melt the cheese for you.

4. Finally, top with the kale, salsa and sour cream. Enjoy!

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Make soft storage bins from old jeans

Make soft storage bins from old jeans

storage bins

This post originally appeared on my old blog 3 years ago, when I lived in a different country. I’ve seen a few beautiful versions of these baskets lately, but none using denim, so I thought I’d pull this post out of the mothballs for you. 

I have been searching for decent, small soft storage bins for ages now. It’s amazing how incredibly useless Google is if you don’t know the name of something. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what the greater world would call these things. Fabric bins? Soft storage bins? Apparently the term is ‘fabric baskets’ [in the UK, I think fabric bins works over here in North America], but it took nearly two months of intermittent Googling and plaintive Twitter requests to find some. Of course, they were either ugly, or too big. Mostly ugly.

I convinced myself they wouldn’t be hard to make. I thought about them as I fell asleep, how it would work, what bits would go where. I have about two hours in the evening before Elliot wakes up and won’t go back to bed on his own, so I had to work quickly. I looked at this pattern, which was nearly perfect, but decided on some key deviations.

I wanted to use denim as the outer fabric as it’s hard-wearing and its innate stiffness would do away with the need for interfacing, which I have no idea how to use so was keen to avoid entirely. I’m trying not to buy new fabric, so for these I stopped by my local Oxfam and picked out some men’s jeans for £2.50. Not only did these have the benefit of being cheaper, but I planned to use part of the leg, doing away with sewing at least one seam. If you do the same, look for jeans with very straight legs, or your bins will be wonky. For the inner fabric, choose something decor weight – I’ve used Amy Butler’s Imperial Fans from the Nigella collection in River.

Cut a portion of leg the height you want your bin to be, remembering to incorporate the large turnover edge. Lie it flat and measure the width, and then use half that measurement to make a circle on the jeans, and cut that out. That’s the bottom of your bin.

Now use those two pieces to cut out the lining of your bin on the decor fabric. I would suggest lying the flat denim tube on the fabric, marking it out, then flip it over so you have a rectangle twice the width of your denim tube. Trace the denim circle and cut out one of decor fabric. Now, sew the two short ends of your fabric rectangle so you have a tube. Take your circle of decor fabric and pin it round the edges of one end of your fabric tube, with right sides facing in. If your fabric pattern has a direction, now is the time to figure out how you would like it to appear when you fold it over. Sew the end circle to the tube. Repeat with the denim tube and circle.

Now, put your denim bin rightside out. Take your fabric bin, and turn it so the right sides are all facing in, and put it inside the denim bin. You should now have all right sides visible. Take the edges of both the denim bin and the fabric bin and turn them out so you have a small rim, and pin it. You’re going to stitch this down to hem it, and then turn the whole thing down again, so effectively what is being stitched in the inside will look like topstitching. Make sure you’re happy with the colour of thread in your bobbin. Finish sewing this hem, turn down the top and you’re finished! Fill with whatever takes your fancy.

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Lovely things: Gift Guide edition

Lovely things: Gift Guide edition

gift guide 2013

 

The result of sore feet and fingers, I have tromped through the craft market and trawled Etsy to find gift ideas for you, my lovely readers. Excepting the Modern Farmer bag, all of the above come from Canadian shops and craftspeople. I would have left it out, but… pixellated tractors! I couldn’t, it wouldn’t have been fair to you.

1. Jersey infinity scarf, bicycle print // Whiteout Workshop

2. Antler vintage blanket pillow // Identity

3. Leaf pendant // Zula Jewelry

4. Blue and white stamp salad bowl // Artet

5. Modern Farmer magazine canvas shopper // Modern Farmer

6. Boiled wool hat with vintage fur // Julie Sinden

7. Sheep pillow // Velvet Moustache

8. BOT-L water bottle // Ontario Art Gallery Shop

9. PLOG-IT light fixture (one bulb, coloured cord) // Ontario Art Gallery Shop

All images courtesy the artisan and/or retailer. 

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